Ryder Cup hero Stenson joins Furyk and Els on early list
The 2007 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard is again expected to have one of the strongest fields of the year in world golf, potentially with as many as 13 of the current top-15 players on the Official World Golf Ranking.
The most recent player addition is Sweden's Henrik Stenson, who committed on Monday following his victory in the Dubai Desert Classic over a strong field that included world No. 1 Tiger Woods. Stenson, who scored the decisive point in Europe's 2006 Ryder Cup victory over the United States, is now ranked No. 10 in the world.
This will be Stenson's first appearance in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, previously known as the Bay Hill Invitational. The PGA Tour event is scheduled for the week of March 12-18 at Palmer's Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Florida.
Early commitments have also been received from Jim Furyk and Ernie Els, who are ranked respectively No. 2 and No. 4 in the world. Of the current top-15 players in the world, all but two have played at Bay Hill regularly or in recent years, including Woods, the champion for four consecutive years, 2000 through 2003.
Defending champion Rod Pampling, ranked No. 33 in the world, is among 15 players who have entered from the current top 50 players in the world. There have been 54 commitments as of today, and there will be a minimum of 120 players in the field. Greg Owen, the runner-up to Pampling last year, is included in that number.
Others are Nick O'Hern (No. 16 in the world), Davis Love III (No. 17), Jose Maria Olazabal (No. 22), K. J. Choi (No. 23), Michael Campbell (No. 29), Angel Cabrera (No. 31), Tim Clark (No. 32), Justin Rose (No. 36), Brett Wetterich (No. 41), Carl Pettersson (No. 43) and Charles Howell III (No. 47).
Fred Funk will be coming back from the Champions Tour after his top-10 finish last year. Other commitments include former Masters champion Mike Weir, former PGA winner Shaun Micheel, and these PGA Tour event winners of the past year: Eric Axley, Chris Couch, Charley Hoffman, Will MacKenzie, Troy Matteson, Cory Pavin, John Rollins, John Senden, D.J. Trahan, and Dean Wilson.
Joining Stenson and Olazabal so far from the European team in the 2006 Ryder Cup are Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood, while from the American team, commitments have been received from Wetterich, Vaughn Taylor, Zach Johnson, and Scott Verplank.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard traditionally has one of the strongest fields of the year and usually is behind only the four major championships, the World Golf Championship events, and The Players Championship. Last year's Bay Hill field included nine of the top 15 players in the world and 30 of the top 50.
Tickets for the 2007 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard or for more information, log on to the tournament web site, www.arnoldpalmerinvitational.com or call the Bay Hill ticket office at 407-876-7774 or toll free at 866-764-4843. Tournament proceeds benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.